Published: 2018
Theme: Magical Fantasy
Best for: 8 to 12

“Something must have hatched inside that box! And the mysterious creatures must be strong enough to have rocked the box as they were being born. Yet they’re small enough to fit inside the empty mint tin.” A delightful and lightweight fantasy with witches, time travel, and baby dragons, set in Brooklyn.

Published: 2014
Theme: Dragons
Best for: 6 – 9

“Drake looked over at his friend Bo. he could tell Bo was thinking the same thing he was: How did the king know one of the dragons was sick?” Our school librarian gets a high demand for books about dragons, especially from the lower grade students. So she and I were delighted to find this one.

Published: 2016
Theme: Self-confidence, Dragons
Best for: 8 to 12

“It was Vasilisa’s doll that did all the cleaning, dusting and laundry at night while Vasilisa slept in her room here. A couple of times, I tried to stay up long enough to catch the doll at it…” Dolls that clean houses, a dragon that lives in the basement, and a school for humans and magicals… a perfect recipe for delight.

Published: 1998
Theme: Gentleness and Bravery
Best for: 6 to 10

“‘A tridrake,’ the dragon repeated. ‘A three-headed dragon.’ Only then did the children notice that the dragon had two other necks, branching off on either side of the first neck, and two other heads… both sound asleep.” This book reads like an old fashioned tale, as each head of the dragon tells of an earlier encounter with a child who trusted and helped the dragon.

Published: 1991
Theme: Deep friendship
Best for: 8 and up

“The egg shook in his hands. The dancing colors froze in place. He heard a scratching sound. Suddenly a single, sharp claw pierced the shell. The tiny talon sparkled like a jewel in the moonlight…” This particular children’s book on the theme of raising a dragon has a lovely simplicity and innocence about it…

Published: 2014
Theme: Parody
Best for: 7 and up

“To the Carpet people, the Carpet was bigger than a forest,… full of cities, towns, small villages, castles, and all sorts of tiny animals in the really thick parts that weren’t swept often…In the village of the Fallen Matchstick, the Carpet-dwellers were preparing to leave.” Here’s a glorious children’s book to discover…short stories written by renowned author Terry Pratchett when he was a teenager!

Published: 2015
Theme: Friendship
Best for: 7 and up

“Dragons weren’t the only ones who were mistreated so the different magicals agreed to keep their powers secret or hide from humans altogether. We’ve done such a good job that most humans consider all magicals imaginary.” I smiled and often laughed out loud as I read this very silly fantasy book, peopled with all kinds of magical creatures, as well as a very admirable 10-year-old girl…

Published: 2011
Theme: Family
Best for: 12- 14

“Everything changes, child,” Grandmama observed calmly. “Me, you, the world… Who knows what the future will bring? The one thing that doesn’t change is the family. It always comes first. Keep everyone in it safe. Keep them happy.” Laurence Yep is a fabulous chronicler of Chinese culture and Chinese American culture This particular children’s book includes both, as it traces a family from 1835 in China to 2011 in America…

Published: 2004
Theme: Fantasy
Best for: 8 and up

“The Rim of Heaven.” Slatebeard closed his eyelids. “Its mountains are so tall that they touch the sky. Moonstone caves lie hidden among its slopes, and the floor of the valley is covered with blue flowers.” Imagine in one children’s book: brownies, dwarfs, dragons, sea serpents, a giant Roc, and even a homunculi. Add the magic of the Himalayas and a Tibetan monastery, and adventure soars to another level.

Published: 1948, republished 1998
Theme: Imagination, Kindness
Best for: 5 to 8

“He’s got a long tail and yellow and blue stripes. His horn and eyes and the bottoms of his feet are bright red, and he has gold-colored wings.” This children’s book is all about imagination, with a capital I. Just trying to picture the vividly-colored dragon takes all of my imaginative skills! There’s nothing scary about this book…

Published: 1991
Theme: Teamwork, Fantasy
Best for: 9 and up

“If the King of the Enchanted Forest gets killed trying to rescue the King of the Dragons from the Society of Wizards, goodness only knows what will happen.” What I love about this lighthearted children’s book is that the heroes and heroines are straightforward, simple, and likable, despite the fact that they have immense magical powers at their command.

Published: 2007
Theme: Dragons and Humans
Best for: 9-12

But why are you being so kind to me?”… “Perhaps to prove to you that we dragons are not all as bad as the bards make us out to be,… or perhaps because something about you reminds me of a fair dragonness I knew long, long ago.” It has humor, adventure, friendship, and battles. It’s got a little bit of everything, and yet nothing is too serious. In some ways…

Published: 1898
Theme: Co-operation
Best for: ages 5 and up

“Look here, father, you know we’ve each of us got our line. You know about sheep, and weather , and things; I know about dragons…Now, please, just leave this all to me…I’ll go up and have a talk with him, and you’ll find it’ll be all right.” Kenneth Grahame is best known for Wind in the Willows, and this children’s book has the same touch of brilliance. Everything is just on the edge of believable, even though it is surely make-believe.

Published 1975
Theme: Chinese Immigrant experience
Best for: 12 and over

“All of a sudden I saw that if life seems awfully petty most of the time, every now and then there is something noble and beautiful and almost pure that lifts us suddenly out of the pettiness and lets us share in it a little.” This beautifully written and sensitive book covers the experience of the Chinese immigrants in the 1900s in San Francisco.

Published: 1990
Theme: Being Oneself
Best for: ages 10 and up, especially girls

“Being a dragon’s princess is a perfectly respectable thing to do, so my parent’s couldn’t complain. And it would be much more interesting than embroidery and dancing lessons.” An easy-to-read adventure with dragons, wizards, and a princess who breaks the mold…

Published 2008
Theme: Innate Wisdom of Children
Best for: 11 and older

“It was because of the king. Because he was brave and true to what he believed in and wouldn’t let himself be bullied. Because he knew that if you have power you must use it well and not be afraid.” A book that celebrates the power of independence in children’s lives..

Published: 2019
Theme: Speaking Up
Best for: 9 to 12

“Different isn’t wrong,” Pixit said with such utter certainty that Mina couldn’t help but believe him…Mina said, “I just need to find a different way, a way that works for me.” To get to the point, this is a must-read, about the power of children to change the world, finding their own voice along the way. Very inspiring fantasy that’s not so fantastical in the end!

Published: 2018
Theme: Protection of Endangered Species
Best for: 9 to 12

“This story is for all who have the courage to protect instead of dominate, to save instead of plunder, and to preserve instead of destroy.” A sequel to Dragon Rider, this action-packed adventure with fantasy animals, is all about protecting all living beings.

Published: 2017
Theme: Resisting Prejudice
Best for: 10 and up

“I’d been taught that our Bamarre were lucky to be ruled by us. Otherwise they would have been conquered by others, who would have killed them all. With us, they were safe and had duties and food.” A great and timely fantasy children’s book exploring the injustice of nations dominating nations, and the ill consequences of prejudice…

Published: 2000
Theme: Easy Reader Bedtime
Best for: 5 to 8

“Once there were three little dragons. They lived in a dark cave. The cave was in a dense forest. The forest was in a faraway kingdom. The poor little dragons were very lonely in their deep dark cave.” A must-have, read-aloud bedtime story that’s perfect for every child…

Immigration Makes US Great: Here are some wonderful children’s books to create more multicultural understanding about immigration and diversity in America. Most are historical fiction, and beautifully written. Let us celebrate all the value that open immigration has brought to the United States.

Published: 2000
Theme: Adventure and Fantasy
Best for: 9 and up

“A water rat scuttled away as the children felt their way along the narrow passage. It led to a canal, like so many of Venice’s alleys and passages…Someone had painted “Vietato Ingresso” in clumsy letters on the door- No entry.” Once again, I am dazzled by Cornelia Funke and her masterful way of putting characters and plot together that is memorable and exciting…

Published: 2011
Theme: Beyond Illusions
Best for: 12 and up

“My mother was widowed by a real estate agent some years ago, and I never finished the encyclopedia..(When) we asked, ‘Why do we not have a Papa?’ she said, ‘Your Papa is the Library, and he loves you and will care for you…'” If you can accept a Wyvern (who looks like a dragon but is only a remote cousin) that has a Library as a father, then you will not only be able to read this children’s book, you will get the humor in the above quote…

Published: 2014
Theme: Fantasy
Best for: 9 to 11

“Celie was the one the Castle loved best. She was the one who had raised and trained a griffin. She was the one who had found the broken piece of the Eye and restored it to is rightful place…” This book is written simply enough for a good reader in the third or fourth grade to easily manage the book, yet it is a complex fantasy.